Our last morning started just like the previous one did. The Missus slept in a bit and I took a walk, much shorter this time, and no donuts. We would be grabbing breakfast before checking out and heading to the airport. The Missus really wanted to go back to Tasty N Alder yet again. However, they didn't open until 9, which would be cutting things a bit too close.
So instead we walked one block over to Cheryl's on 12th which opens at 8am on Sundays.
The space reminded me a bit of the London Plane, not as fancy or hip, but this was part market, bakery, deli, as well as restaurant.
We were greeted with a bright smile and led to a nice little table.
Ordering for me was quite easy, though the Missus needed a bit of time.
Meanwhile, our coffee arrived along with some very light, warm, beignets.
The Missus went with the Wild Mushroom Omelete ($9):
While it kind of looked like a hot mess, the flavors were good, sweetness from the caramelized onions and the milky-salty feta cheese balancing out the earthy mushroom flavor. The potatoes were mediocre, bland, greasy, and without color or and crispness.
Minus the avocado and this could have easily been served at, say, Like Like Drive-In, or some other local spot on Oahu. There was a generous portion of sliced and nicely sautéed sausage, decent flavor, nicely spiced, lot's of sausage in the fried rice as well, though the rice was much too hard and needed some shoyu to kick it up a bit. Still, the Missus poached a good amount of the sausage (and the avocado), and this was well worth ten bucks.
Cheryl’s On 12th 1135 SW Washington St Portland, OR 97205 Hours: Mon - Sat 7am - 8pm Sunday 8am - 4pm
In retrospect, we could have easily spent a few more days in PDX. As it was, we missed a few places we had on our list....unfinished business as it were.
It was actually a nice walk. The sky was overcast, but it never rained.
We crossed the Willamette on the Burnside Bridge and passed the iconic Portland White Stag sign.
Traffic looked pretty heavy along Burnside.
You could tell spring was approaching as the Cherry Blossoms were starting to bloom. It was quite a lovely sight.
Our destination was a restaurant named Davenport, which I had read used local ingredients in simple dishes, with excellent and refined technique. The idea is to let the ingredients shine. The Chef Kevin Gibson is a semi-finalist for the James Beard; Best Chef: Northwest category.
There area couple of interesting things about the place, there's no large sign, you have to find 2215 East Burnside, then look for the "red door". Also, the phone conversation for making reservations was, well, interesting.....a woman picked up the phone with simply "hello"...... I had to ask if this was Davenport. At the end of the process, I noticed they hadn't asked for a phone number, so I inquired if they needed one. The answer, "no....if you show up, you show up...if you don't, you don't." Ok.... Well, we did show up.
The menu is ever changing.....in fact, it changes almost everyday.
We loved the menu and it was quite easy to choose our courses.
We had heard that Co-owner Kurt Heilemann curates an amazing wine list. So we asked our server, who was just perfect, efficient, professional, but not stuffy if he would select a glass to pair with each dish.
I will say, that even though I'm not an oenophile, I really enjoyed the pairings. I'm not going to go into detail about the wine, though I will say, the first glass...that Riesling, pared with the foie gras mousse was just perfect. It was without a doubt the best pairing of the evening. When I mentioned how beautiful the stemware was, our server told us it's hand-blown Zalto stemware.
The foie gras mousse was nice, smooth, rich, all you could ever want.
The pate was good, quite refined, balanced in flavor.....perhaps a bit too perfect. Loved the bits of hazelnut which gave it a nice contrasting texture.
For us, it was the pickled sunchokes that really got our attention, great crunch, perfect flavor. The salad was my least favorite....it tasted like it had been dressed with plain white vinegar, as it was way too sour; the pomegranate seeds didn't help adding another layer of tart and tannic flavor to everything.
The rapini, which was beautifully charred, bitterness subdued, smokey flavor enhanced was wonderful.
The addition of the breadcrumbs which added more crunch, only to be balanced with the boiled egg white and richness of the egg yolk just elevated the dish in my opinion. The anchovy was a bit too strong for the dish as just a squeeze of lemon was perfect.
We finished with the grilled lamb shoulder.
Slightly toothsome, but still tender enough considering it was shoulder. The lamb flavor made the perfect, "yes, you are eating lamb" statement. It was perfectly seasoned, a bit too rare for the Missus, but I loved it. The salsa verde really didn'y play into the flavors for me.
Overall, a very nice meal. In terms of service and timing, things were just perfect for us. While we enjoyed our meal, which was good, nothing really extended it into the "great" territory for us. Now the prices, well the food only came out to $60! The wine at $45 almost matched the price of the food. We weren't complaining though as in terms of cost, we thought this to be a reasonably priced meal.
Next time, I think something more along the lines of Le Pigeon would be the Missus's cup of tea.
Davenport 2215 East Burnside Portland, OR 97214
Of course, we weren't quite ready to call it a night. Candice had recommended that we stop in at Belmont Station. So the Missus decided we needed to work off at least a portion of our dinner....so add another mile-and-a-half to the tab. The streets looked rather dark on SE Stark Street and Belmont Station shone like a pearl in the night.
Basically an amazing bottle shop, with a huge 1200+ bottle list. Connected to the shop is the "Biercafe" which has a nice selection of items on tap.
Our "beertender" was a very nice...cool guy. The Missus got a sour and I ordered something that looked quite interesting - the New Belgium Cocoa Mole Spiced Strong Dark Ale. I was asked if I like "interesting flavors" and said yes. The guy behind the bar said, "folks here either love it or instantly dislike it". Me, I loved it....
Like a pseudo porter, with a pronounced chili-chocolate aroma. Since I love chili beers, I really enjoyed this. Mild spice that very slowly intensified, but never really got too hot. The flavor was quite complex. Even the Missus, who is not a big fan of porters really enjoyed this one.
It was a nice way to end our evening.
Belmont Station 4500 SE Stark St Portland, OR 97215
By this time, the Missus had figured I'd done enough walking for the day and decided we could catch the bus back. She did have a change of heart as we crossed the Belmont Bridge and decided to ring for a stop. But after all the walking I had done that day. The stroll back to the hotel was nothing.
Such is a typical day for us when travelling...lots of walking and lots of good food....and drinks!
After a short nap, we awoke...well a bit groggy. So we figured it was time for a walk and maybe some coffee.
We passed all those familiar places...well, at least to me. The Missus really didn't remember much about Portland, other than "Pod", how much she didn't care for Voodoo Donuts, stuff like that.
She did remember the Pioneer Square area and the really nice and friendly Police Officer we met there. That's kind of how travel is; most times, the sites are great, but it's the people that you remember.
Last time we were in Portland, we stayed at the Embassy Suites, which is right across the street from Stumptown Coffee Roasters. I thought it would be nice to drop by again.
The place looks the same. I'm not sure if it's just me; but the baristas here always seem a bit detached, jaded, and "too cool" for us customers. Maybe if I grew a beard, had tats on my arms, and pierced various parts of my anatomy? Fat chance on that though.....
This visit was more for the Missus. She's kind of become one of those pseudo "Third Wave" snobs. Remember those posts on Haraaz Red Maraqaha beans that are Her favorite? Or the cups of Panama Geisha from Bird Rock? She thought a visit here would be interesting to see how Her tastes have changed. And they've changed a lot and so have mine. I'm not a coffee snob, though I know what the Missus enjoys, so I instantly knew upon tasting the cold brew that it wasn't going to cut it; I like nitro cold brew and this Kenya was decent, but I've actually had better at Dark Horse.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters 128 Sw 3rd Ave Portland, OR 97204
It was still too early for our dinner reservations; so we decided to take a walk around a bit. One of my favorite buildings in Portland is the Dekum Building. The red brick, very German, Romanesque styling make this structure; built in 1891 by Frank Dekum really stand out. Even more entertaining is the story that during the building of this structure, the masons drank beer every morning instead of coffee. The magic of hops; the place is still standing and looking as beautiful as ever.
We headed to downtown proper; past the Thompson Elk Fountain, which made me realize, for some reason, I really hadn't taken many photos during my visits in Portland. So heck, I needed at least one of Portlandia (the statue, not the show).
The Missus was starting to get hungry, so we decided to walk over to our dinner destination. In the beginning, I started with a list, than pared it down based on the Missus's eating habits and preferences. Le Pigeon was on that list, but I thought visiting Gabriel Rucker's other restaurant, the more bistro like Little Bird would be more relaxed. I recall calling and making a reservation, the young lady on the line asked me, "will you be celebrating a special occasion with us? Is there anything special we can do?"
We had arrived early, the place was empty except for one table. The young lady manning the hostess stand was relaxed and friendly. She offered us several tables. I ended up asking her to make the choice for us. So, we ended up getting "her favorite table" on the mezzanine. "Half the fun is watching the place come alive" she said.
I couldn't agree more. Much like The London Plane, having a bird's eye view was worth the price of admission.
The young man who was our Server was quite nice, friendly, but not too friendly, efficient, but not in your face, just perfect for our temperament. When I presented our plan; Chalkboard Special items, to be shared family style, rather than the usual appetizer-entrée service, he was all for it. He told us, "this is going to be great. I was a customer here for two years before working here."
At this point, I'm sorry to say, the photos aren't going to be up to standard. We didn't bring our huge DSLR with us....and in all honesty, I would have felt quite uncomfortable busting the beast out in a situation like this. It just doesn't seem right.
So we march onward. The Charcuterie Board ($25), was solid, if not outstanding.
We're used to charcuterie that makes a statement. Many of the items offered, like the pork rillettes were quite mild, almost lost without accoutrements, in that case, the pickled onions were a must. The texture of the pate was so decadent, but the flavor just needed that "umph". The one item that was full of flavor was the Smoked Pork Mousseline, in this case, not a forcemeat, but a flavorful smoked pork tenderloin. The scotch egg was great, drippy and oozy, the breading balancing out the books.
Next up is what I think is the best thing I've had since our dinner at Suzunari in Tokyo. The Seared Foie Gras, Shaved Oregon Winter Truffle, Foie Gras Sausage (we were told 3 parts chicken - 1 part foie), porcini puree (more like a porcini-butter mousse). Oh, just kill me now.....
Without getting too wordy....I didn't even mention the balsamic glaze, I have to say all of these strong flavors and amazing textures really played well together. The porcini puree was a great example; it was so assertive solo, but together with the foie gras, things balanced out. When eating products like this, I want the true flavor to come through....and then the combination of items which can take the dish a bit higher, perhaps transform and balance the textures, richness, and flavor. This was it for us. Worth every penny ($26).
The Roasted Marrow Bones ($21) were also quite good. The pairing of marrow bones with escargot - "ants on a log" is a classic one. In this case, it included snail sausage, which I thought was quite good.
It was served with some delicious rapini, a nice, thick parmesan vinaigrette, which added an acid-milky component to the dish. The bone marrow was perfectly prepared; in San Diego, I've encountered unrendered product. The naan like flatbread was kind of an afterthought for us.
Our evening had gone quite well, until the wait for our last dish, which took nearly 20 minutes, the Anchovy Cured Pork Belly ($15).
I gotta say, that cauliflower puree was great, just the right amount of seasoning and butter; the texture sublime. The Missus was ok with this, but I thought it was really salty. On the menu it says "crispy boquerones", which were really much too salty fried anchovies. A bit too heavy in terms of sodium. Nice textures, if a bit over-the-top for me.
We didn't go with any wine with dinner, so the damage turned out to be $87....no tax in PDX....which the Missus made sure to tell me after having recently spent over a hundred bucks for a mediocre meal at the Smoking Goat.
Little Bird Bistro 219 SW 6th Ave Portland, OR 97204
So now he Missus wants to make sure we visit Le Pigeon next time! I think She's ready for it.
After dinner, we headed around the block to Bailey's Taproom for a nightcap. I loved the display which showed the status of every keg and what was lined up.
Loved the half pours, 10 ounces was enough for me after all the rich food. A bit too many hipsters, but we enjoyed the place.
Here's what it looks like in daylight as I walked by the next morning. Great selection....
Bailey’s Taproom 213 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97205
Ever since we've been doing a good amount of travel internationally, the Missus really hasn't been too keen travelling much in the US, other than heading "home" to visit Her parents and such. But, we had such a great time on our recent visit to Seattle, a city we used to visit almost yearly, that the Missus asked me if I'd like to take a belated birthday trip to Portland. I'd heard that the food scene in PDX has really taken off in the last couple years and it had been over 7 years since our last visit. In other words, we were overdue. I always enjoyed the city, folks are very nice, almost borderline too friendly at times....even the street kids are often quite polite. We did notice a few changes since our last visit immediately; many, many, more hipsters.....man, I don't think they sell many razors in PDX anymore. Folks seemed even more eccentric....some of the outfits wouldn't be out of place in Shibuya! Loved the gal who walked out of one of the business high rises; briefcase in tow, rockin' shiny tap dance shoes featuring bright red bows, a polka dot mini skirt, and a mouse-ear barrette! Keep Portland Weird indeed....or were the folks just doing a reverse satire of Portlandia?
Did I mention the easy $2.50 Max Red Line from the airport to downtown. That, added to being able to check in at 945am at the Paramount, and things were starting out well.
We were of course starving....and downtown Portland is a very easy walking town. Tasty N Alder had been on my list for a while and the Missus and I enjoy family style......
The place was quite full when we arrived....mid-morning and all. Our Server was the most amazingly cheerful and friendly woman. I wish I got her name....friendly, efficient, did a great job talking to us about the menu. She made our visit so pleasant and pleasurable.
always on the look-out for veggies, we started with the Radicchio ($6), which turned out to be the Missus's favorite dish of the trip. In fact, She requested a return visit just for this supposedly simple looking salad.
This dish was just so subtly excellent, from the nice crisp thick cut bacon lardons, to the ice cold radicchio, prepped perfectly, without any of the bitter bite. Topped with crumbled egg...you know how much the Missus loves Her eggs, right. The manchego cheese was shredded so fine that I asked if it was done using a microplane (it is). The cheese melted into the wonderful dressing thickening it....I also think there's some bacon fat in the dressing as well. It was thick and rich in a pleasant way......almost like the best possible Caesar dressing. Wonderful!
Curious, we ordered the "Saigon Brussel Sprouts". Actually, the flavor is more Thai influenced.
The Missus took one bite and said, "I know this flavor....you know this flavor....you make stuff using these flavors". This indeed had the Palm Sugar-Fish Sauce-Garlic flavor I use for making my Thai Garlic Shrimp. Though this is much more sweet and is glazed. I loved the idea and knew I'd be making this after we returned home.
The Smoke Trout Board ($10) was our least favorite item of the day. The trout was decently smoked, but nothing special, the 6 minute egg was over done, though the pickled beets are really great with a nice, balanced flavor.
I was fascinated with the Patatas Bravas, which turned out to be a huge portion for $7. And to make the Missus even more happy it was topped with....you guessed it, two more easy over eggs. That make about five eggs if you're counting.
The garlic aioli had a wonderful "punch", the potatoes had the great texture of spuds that had been twice fried as the interior was fairly creamy. It was a bit too salty and the sauce seemed a bit heavy handed with regards to paprika, but you can't say it was bland.
So this with coffee....what do you think this would cost in San Diego? Here it was $33.......almost a shocking bargain for us. Plus no sales tax. I'd forgotten how reasonably priced things were in Portland.
Like I mentioned before, the woman who waited on us was just a joy. While the Missus went to the restroom, she stopped by and we had a nice chat about the food scene in the city. She told me that the last 3-4 years have been quite amazing for the city. Man, I was looking forward to the rest of our trip.
After brunch we headed off to see some familiar sites and to make one important stop....Powell's Books. To quote something from an earlier post that included Powell's; "yes, it's all true; the bookstore takes up an entire city block. And yes, you do need a map to get around. And yes.....used books are mixed in with the new. And yes, I think there are people living in Powell's, that may have not left in years" I managed to pull myself away from Powell's.......
Powell's Books 1005 W Burnside Portland, OR 97209 USA
I really enjoyed the "Pearl" district on my previous visits so we walked on over....man, it's gotten even more upscale since our last visit. Lots of development. The Missus couldn't resist dropping by the Whole Foods to take a peek and even bought some goji berries which were $7/lb cheaper than in San Diego.
The beer selection was pretty darn good as well. This looked like a nice Whole Foods.
We walked a bit more, then headed back to the hotel for a nap. We both woke a 4am to catch our flight, so a nap was in order......
Thank you for stopping to read mmm-yoso!!!, a food blog. Today, Cathy is writing, because Kirk is just too busy and has no time to write, while Ed (from Yuma) is doing something associated with retirement (in Yuma) .
Yes, there are many, many,many small 'pubs' near the Jack MurphySan Diego Chargers football stadium.Each of these purveyors of adult beverages are open during daylight hours and serve food. I did post about Camel's Breath Inn back in 2009, am now less fearful of taking photos and figure an update is due.
People familiar with the area of Friars Road East of the Stadium may have noticed an Armstrong Nursery just along Friars road, with a Stuart Anderson's Black Angus Steakhouse on the corner. Camel's Breath Inn is located with other businesses in that parking lot. There's a theme to the decor here. There are specials listed on the chalkboard (to the left in the third photo up) and usually there's a placard on the tables. This is a link to a current menu. We were here on a Sunday (but not during football season, when there are even more specials between 9 and 10 a.m.). Brunch was available.However, The Mister wanted a burger and ordered a 'build your own burger'($9). The 1/2 lb hand formed fresh ground beef patty, topped with His choices of cheese, avocado and mushrooms along with the standard lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles (bacon as well as a number of other items are choices and all for the same price). The burger comes with a choice of sides and, as you can see, slaw it was. The burger was cooked to a medium rare char on a flat top grill, was very good flavored. The lightly toasted sesame seeded bun was fresh and held up to the burger and toppings. The slaw here is very good. Still on my Benedict craving, the carnitas Benedict (alternately called a 'pulled pork' Benedict on the table menu) ($8) was my choice. Placed on top of a sliced and toasted slider bun, the large amount of in house cooked pork carnitas, topped with two perfectly poached eggs and a house made Hollandaise, was just right on that chilly morning. The sides of refried beans and home fried potatoes were plentiful and most were taken home as leftovers that day.
The food and atmosphere here are improved over our previous visits. There is a definite competition between the 'taverns' in the one mile radius area (yes, there will be more posts) with more quality food as well as beverage offerings.
Camel's Breath Inn 10330 Friars Road, #106 San Diego 92120 (619)281-1722 website
mmm-yoso!!!, a food blog, tries to entertain and sometimes amuse you with almost daily posts centered about food. Kirk and Ed(from Yuma) are not blogging today; it's Cathy writing this post.
You've probably seen signage while driving along the freeway or along side streets. Perhaps you've been curious. Here's a post giving you reason to stop.
Farmer Boys first opened in 1981 in Perris, California. Founded by the five Havadjias brothers, the idea of 'Farm to Table' wasn't spoken of as part of the dining experience, yet that's been the business philosophy of this small (79 store) Southern California, Central California and Nevada restaurant chain of both company owned and franchised locations. Yes, it's a chain, but with locations primarily California, it fits into my 'new year resolution' of patronizing locally.There are two locations in San Diego County, both in Escondido. The 'newer' location, pictured above, is near a Home Depot and in the same parking lot as the Escondido Vallarta Market location.You walk up, order and pay and your food is brought to the table. The decor is country and home-like, as is your freshly prepared meal. The restaurant serves breakfast all day, and my go to item is the 'Daybreak Sandwich' ($4.19 or $4.99 with meat). Pictured above, the Daybreak with a sausage patty (other options are bacon or ham). It's on a potato bun and made with two eggs and a slice of American cheese. Good any time of the day. I really like the sausage served here; it's not greasy and has just the right amount of spices.The hearty pastrami sandwich ($6.99) is served on a toasted garlic ciabatta roll with mustard and pickles. The oven roasted, smoky pastrami is of excellent quality.
That's a 7 piece side of 'Colossal onion rings' ($4.19) [a four piece side order is $3.49 if you want to avoid temptation and/or can't do math]. Not only are those rings colossal in size, but also in flavor...the fresh hand battered rings are usually ordered with any meal here. The fry is perfect and never greasy. There are also zucchini and harvest fries available as sides; both are also excellent, fresh and never frozen.The menu has had a 'Natural' (hormone free, antibiotic free, fresh never frozen) burger ($6.29) on the menu for quite a long time. It's 1/3 lb, served on the potato bun (all other burgers are served on sesame seeded buns) with American cheese, onion, pickle and 1000 island dressing. Juicy and flavorful (and *much* better than the Carls Jr 'Natural'), this is my burger of choice here, even though the 'Bacon Boy' and 'Farmers Burger' are a bit heavier and larger in size, the Natural Burger has the flavor I enjoy.The Mister and I came here on a Friday and ordered the 4 piece hand battered fish dinner ($9.99) to share. Hand battered, wild caught, pollock filets (each filet was quite large; the above photo shows two pieces; one is butterflied so it would cook evenly. The photo above it has all four filets as it was originally served.) served with Harvest Fries, two onion rings,the garlic ciabatta bread, toasted...andyour choice of soup or salad. The soups are made fresh daily. The choices are almost always clam chowder or cream of broccoli. Both are excellent.
The menu has enough choices to satisfy almost any craving or dietary restriction. The shakes are made with real ice cream, need I say more?
Farmer Boys 1333 East Valley Parkway Escondido 92027 (760)739-0770 Mon-Sat 6-midnight, Sun 7-midnight Website
Look at you, right back here at mmm-yoso!!! probably looking for food blogging. Kirk and Ed (from Yuma) are each busy with 'research' for future posts and Cathy is writing today, with 'results'.
Mission Gorge Road, just North of Interstate 8 is a mish-mash of businesses. Bookended by Starbucks, surrounding new and used car dealerships, banks, drug stores, numerous fast food drive thru lanes, a pizza parlor, sit down restaurants, a great vegan donut shop, as well as a Kaiser Hospital and Clinic. There are also more than several Purveyors ofadult beverageswhich also sell foodin this area of town.JT's is located closest to the Interstate, on the East side, just across from Rose Toyota and a few blocks South of Iowa Meat farms (sister of Seisel's Meats). The plain exterior is not a signal of things to come. The bar area has seemingly endless adult beverage choices, numerous televisions, seating and there are pool and ping pong tables in the back. There are several chalkboards mentioning beer specials, or you can ask. Menus are on tables. You walk up to the bar to order. Always on the lookout for specials, the back of the menu is usually what I read first.However, the bottom of the front page caught my eye on our first visit- beef from Iowa Meat Farms. Ground fresh daily.Here are the center pages, if you are interested. Don't pay too much attention though...the menu is going to be changing up soon. The same talented people who make the wonderful food I'm about to show you will be working on a new menu with all fresh (as in nothing frozen) items. Currently, the potstickers and fries and tots are frozen items. Basic Burger (cooked to a perfect medium rare, as I had ordered) ($8). Served on a fresh, toasted bun with crispy lettuce, tomato and onion, this is one of the best I've had in a while. It's 1/2 pound before cooking.Since it was a Monday, the $3 wings were calling. Medium Buffalo and Teriyaki were our chosen flavors this visit. The wings were meaty, fried crispy and the flavors not overwhelming (the Teriyaki was not sweet, a plus in my book).Another visit, on a Friday, had The Mister ordering a 16 ounce Cream Ale from (local) Mother Earth Brewing ($5).Friday Fish Sandwich ($6.25) was quite large, with the cheese melted into the bun, a nice touch. The fish was moist and the batter light, almost fluffy crispy. The cole slaw here is excellent, by the way.Sides can be fries, tots, slaw or a side salad. You can see fresh mushrooms on the salad, since they use fresh mushrooms for the beer battered mushroom basket. This visit, The Mister ordered the bacon and Bleu burger ($9.25). Again, the cheese melted into the bun-toasty bleu cheese...so good. You can see the bacon and now can imagine how good it was. It was, it was.
Hello again from mmm-yoso!!! a food blog. Kirk and Ed(from Yuma) are a bit busy today and Cathy is writing a quick post.
After posting about El Cajon Bistro and Bakery in 2013, it became a regular spot to drop in for a quick snack before grocery shopping at either Kaelins (which has been upgraded in a great way), or Valley Foods when we didn't want to eat at the hot food area in either of those stores. (ecb is equidistant from each of those grocers).The name has slightly changed, removing the 'Bakery' portion and dinner is now offered here. This location is in the same parking lot as Saray and Sultan Bakalava, which are also regular stops for snacks. The ordering area is the same, as is the dining area with an emphasis on juices and fresh fruit along with the still tremendous coffee offerings.This day we decided to have breakfast and The Mister ordered his favorite item- the berry pancakes with bacon and over easy eggs ($8). The fresh berries baked into the house made pancake batter is just a perfect flavor combination and always satisfying.The chalkboard at my eye level on the counter had me curious. I asked what the difference was between this and the 'regular' eggs benedict was and the answer was 'green Hollandaise sauce'. For some reason, I have been asking for the 'green' sauced items at quite a few places this year (tomatillo, suizas, culichi, chimichurri and pesto easily come to mind) now this was a choice. Had to! Well, this was just wonderful! The eggs were poached hard and the sauce was great, with that bit of difference than plain Hollandaise as well as a good amount of fresh veggies making this an excellent breakfast treat.
Similar to its sister location (La Mesa Bistro and Bakery), the lines are out the door on weekends, unless you get here early.
ecb 109 Jamacha El Cajon 92019 (619)590-0278Website Open 7 a.m. daily (closes 4 p.m. Sun-Mon, 8 pm other days)
If you have visited here before, you know mmm-yoso is KirkK's foodblog, mostly featuring his wonderful reports on dining in San Diego and worldwide. Cathy helps keep the blog going and has an encyclopedic knowledge of San Diego eateries, particularly those that the rest of us might miss. Some days, Ed (from Yuma) will post about eating on his travels and especially about dining in Yuma. Today is one of those days; you have been warned.
The most exciting new addition to the Yuma dining scene is The Farmhouse Bistro:
Its location – set back from the street with limited signage and lighting – makes this a tough location and many eateries have occupied this site for brief periods since I moved to town, including Mi Playita, TJ's Marisquero, Viejo Loco, Small Fries, Rusty Spoon, and most recently Spanky's Chophouse. But long time Yumans know the location as "where Hensley's Beef, Beans, and Beer used to be," a steakhouse that thrived here for 20 years, 1979-1999.
The interior is small and simple. Of course, there are a couple flatscreen TVs and a bar area that can't yet sell alcohol:
But most of the dining area is filled with about 10 tables of various sizes, and the rustic painted walls are reminiscent of a rural farmhouse (and when packed at lunch, the room almost sounds like the mess hall at a ranch):
While the decor is nothing to speak of, the menu looked interesting right from the start.
On my first visit, my friend and former colleague, Dawn, wanted the lamb burger ($12), so I went conventional and had the basic burger ($14). Hers looked like this:
She said the flavor of the ground meat had a distinct lamb flavor, and she loved the brie cheese topping. My farmhouse burger looked similar and different:
I was happy. I loved the char from the grill, the medium rare doneness of the patty, and the beefy taste of the meat. The restaurant tries to source all of their meats and produce locally – if possible. Maybe that’s part of why it tasted so good.
We were both delighted by the french fries (and surprised as the menu had not mentioned that they came with the burgers). While not crispy crunchy, they were full of real potato flavor – clearly none of them had ever seen the interior of a freezer. People with more perceptive tastebuds may have detected the touch of truffle oil on the potatoes, but I was just happy to get real honest french fries.
On my next visit, I had to try the pork belly tacos ($12) –who could pass up Korean style pork belly tacos? There were 4 well filled tacos:
This close-up gives you a better idea of what is going on:
The thick chunks of pork belly were simply prepared; I could detect no Korean marinade or seasoning, but I was delighted by the smoky char of some pieces. The coleslaw with red and regular cabbage was lightly dressed and definitely not sweet or goopy. As far as I could tell, the only "Korean" seasoning was the ground red chili powder sprinkled over the slaw.
Nonetheless, I had no complaints. The flavor of the pork belly was excellent, and the preparation of the tacos emphasized the chewy, porky, chargrilled flavor of the meat. I would have this again.
Currently The Farmhouse has no liquor license, which is a bad thing for the restaurant I am sure, but it can be a good thing for customers because diners can bring bottles of wine (and maybe beer?) with them to enjoy – and pay no restaurant markup on the beverage. I'm not sure when they will get a liquor license, but let me suggest that my wino friends come try the bistro now when you can save money.
For those not interested in alcoholic beverages, The Farmhouse offers your standard choices plus this amazing beverage ($3):
What you are looking at is a glass of kale lemonade (no I'm not making that up). It is complex and refreshing and probably even healthy for you. Welcome to 2015.
Since two lunches had been a success, Tina and I decided to come by for dinner. We started our meal (after the kale lemonades) with the most unusual sounding item on the menu, fried pickle ($7):
The restaurant brines a range of vegetables – this night included green beans, zucchini slices, small cauliflower florets, sweet potato chunks, and onion strips – dips them in tempura batter, fries them, and serves them with their house sauce, a spicy teriyaki mayo.
Eating the fried pickles was a treat for the palate. Sour, salty, and crunchy/greasy all at once. These were definitely addictive, if a bit repetitive, and we ate every piece.
The main courses continued to challenge our taste buds and our expectations. Tina chose the diver scallops ($26), which were perfectly cooked – charred at each end and rare in the middle. But look at how they were served:
What a treat for the eye. The scallops were perched atop a mound of beet risotto. The little white puffs are goat cheese quenelles, and the mound is surrounded by a buerre blanc sauce.
And what a treat for the mouth. The riced red beets with rice balanced the scallops nicely and contrasted with the goat cheese much like the old school borscht/sour cream combination. Tina (with a little of my help) happily ate everything on her plate.
I chose the duck breast ($28):
The breast, topped with garlic lemon purée, was served on a bed of lemon risotto, accompanied by three superb giant fresh local asparagus spears. I love asparagus and it doesn't get any better than those three spears. Moist crunchy tender flavorful.
The duck breast was cooked a perfect medium rare:
I enjoyed how the chef used the garlic and lemon flavors to contrast the richness of the duck breast. Certainly the best duck I have ever had in Yuma. The risotto was perfectly prepared, the rice being both creamy and al dente. If I had any quibble, it would be that the lemon risotto flavors were monochromatic. While the risotto was a perfect match to the duck breast, it was less interesting by itself.
For dessert, we had wanted to try the grilled peach, but of course, peaches aren’t in season (even in Yuma) so we opted for the banana crema ($9):
The small mason jar is a nice farmly touch. The banana crema itself was the bottom half of the desert. A layer of crunchy banana flavored cookie crumbs separated it from the raspberry/banana flavored crema at the top. The desert was certainly rich and unusual. It was also nice to see cheese courses on the dessert menu.
For me, The Farmhouse has exceeded expectations. The menu is certainly the most varied and interesting in town. The kitchen can turn out a wide range of dishes skillfully. Farm-to-table ingredients – witness that incredible asparagus – should be a perfect fit for Yuma, at least in the winter. In addition, the place is well staffed, and the service on each visit has been professional and personable. Of course, The Farmhouse is in a tough location, and the menu with lunches or salads between $9 and $14 and entrées from $25 up may intimidate some folks, but the restaurant has been busy and I hope that Yuma will support creative quality cuisine.
The Farmhouse Bistro, 2855 S. 4th Ave., Yuma AZ 85364, (928) 276-9735; open11- 2, and 5-11 Tuesday through Saturday, Sunday brunch 9-1. Closed Mondays.
Kirk, Ed(from Yuma) and Cathy are the usual writers here on mmm-yoso!!!, a food blog. Today, Cathy is writing.
The rush of a multitude of holidays with corresponding activities is winding down, with individuals cleaning up, rearranging and perhaps following some new patterns. Businesses are 'clearing out' holiday-centric food and decorating items. The Mister and I have been out and about, looking for some bargains, and, as always, manage to squeeze a meal into the midst of the shopping. Yes, both Kirk and I have writtena few posts aboutBristol Farms, an upscale market (the parent company is Albertsons) located in La Jolla.There is both a self serve area (salad bar, soup, hot foods) where you can select, package and then pay for your items and find a seat here in the Bristol Cafe (or just outside), or you can walk up and order items 'to go' or you can seat yourself and a friendly waiter/waitress will bring you a menu and you'll have table service. This Wednesday, the special was a cup of any Soup and Sandwich of the day for $7.49. The Mister chose the carrot ginger soup- which was fascinating in its complimentary flavors and excellent.The 'sandwich of the day' was a "Malibu Melt"...and the description made us simultaneously fearful and curious. Toasted sourdough, the top with soft grilled red onion, Monterey Jack cheese, tuna salad...on top of grilled honey ham and a basil aioli spread. Yeah, we ordered it, ate it and liked it (except for the onion; a bit too many flavors there and it was removed after a bite). The tuna salad alone was excellent, as was the grilled honey ham. No idea who concocted this in their brain, but it works.Playing it safe, I ordered the quiche of the day with a salad ($8.49). The simple salad was accompanied by the most wonderful Thousand Island dressing. The quiche (which you can purchase unbaked in the store) had melange of (at least three types) of roasted mushrooms and spinach baked into a wonderfully flavored custard which was all baked in a crispy, flaky shell.
Yet another day of trying something new, and it worked.
Bristol Farms 8510 Genessee Avenue San Diego 92122 (858) 558-4180 Website